One of Wales’ largest further education colleges, Coleg y Cymoedd, has appointed Karen Phillips as its next Principal and Chief Executive.

Ms Phillips, who has served as Coleg y Cymoedd’s Deputy Principal since 2008 (then known as Coleg Morgannwg), will succeed current Principal, Judith Evans, when she retires from 1 January 2019.

As Deputy Principal, Karen Phillips has been credited for the leading role she has played in guiding the college through a continuous curriculum development process, major infrastructure projects and strategic analysis of relevant market trends influencing the further education sector.

Most notable highlights include the merger of Coleg Morgannwg and The College Ystrad Mynach in 2014 to form Coleg y Cymoedd, and, her management of a capital investment programme encompassing several multimillion-pound projects across four campuses, including the construction of the college’s £40m Nantgarw campus which opened in 2012.

Prior to entering the education sector, Ms Phillips enjoyed a highly successful career in the commercial sector, which included over 11 years as chief executive of one of Wales’ leading law firms, Capital Law.

In addition to providing an opportunity to apply her commercial acumen to new challenges in the education arena, the decision to join the college in 2008 also represented something of a return for Ms Phillips, who herself studied at the college 35 years ago at the Rhondda and Rhydfelin campuses.

Commenting on her appointment and plans for the college’s future, Karen Phillips, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity to lead the college that had such an input into my own education and career.  I feel privileged to work alongside my colleagues as we strive to make a difference to the learners who come to study with us.”

Coleg y Cymoedd serves more than 12,000 learners from the boroughs of Caerphilly and Rhondda Cynon Taf. In addition to vocational training the college also provides the largest choice of A-levels on one site to around 400 learners. The college employs 800 people working across four campuses - Aberdare, Nantgarw, Rhondda, and Ystrad Mynach.

Welcoming Ms Phillips into the role she has herself served with distinction for over ten years, Judith Evans, serving Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd, said: “Karen has already had a great influence over the college’s strategic direction and this will continue.  I have every confidence that the college will go from strength to strength under her leadership”

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